Evidence




Evidence Presented in Court


  • Search Warrant, February 24th, 2012
    The search warrant authorizes the Sheriff to seize any animals (alive or dead) on Caboodle Ranch property, any and all financial documents, and other evidence related to the neglect of the cats. It alleges violations of Florida Statutes 828.12 (cruelty to animals), 828.13 (confinement of animals without food or water), and 817.034 (scheme to defraud).
  • Affidavit for Search Warrant.
  • Probable Cause Affidavit.
  • Offense Incident Report for Caboodle Ranch arrest and seizure.
    Personal information redacted.
  • Arrest Warrant Craig Grant, Feb 24th, 2012
    Craig Grant’s arrest warrant lists one count of scheming to defraud, one felony count of animal cruelty for Lilly‘s neglect, and three misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty (for “Duchess”, “Grey”, and an unnamed brown tabby). The warrant stems from evidence gathered by PETA. Bail was fixed at $250,000.00 “with further condition that he not be involved with operation of Caboodle Ranch if released”.
  • Exibit 16, detailing the suffering and rehabilitation of Cat #069, who died a protracted death from starvation and untreated infections.
  • Exhibit 15, detailing the suffering of Cat #039, who died a protracted death from starvation and untreated infections.
  • Exibit 14, detailing the suffering of Cat #039, who died a protracted death from starvation and untreated infections.
  • Exibit 13, detailing the suffering of the grey cat found suffering in the General Store.
    Dr. Miller testified that this cat had life-threatening conditions. He was hypothermic, with a temperature of 93.6 degrees, and was 8% dehydrated — both dangerous conditions. The cat was unable to walk or stand, and could not get to food on his own. He was covered in urine and feces. His legs were rigid and he could not move them. The cat had slow withdrawal reflexes. He had a head tilt and tremors, signs of neurological damage.
  • Exibit 8, collection of photos and map submitted into evidence without objection from the defense.
  • Official transcript of cross-examination of Dr. John C. Lewis by the attorney for Madison County, George T. Reeves, Esq.
    The testimony by Caboodle Ranch’s own veterinarian was devastating to Caboodle Ranch’s defense. Dr. Lewis acknowledges that he only has records for 200 cats, that many records are for dead cats, that disease was already widespread in 2009, that healthy cats were permitted to pass freely in and out of the sick ward, that the collars used by Caboodle Ranch were inadequate identification, and more.
  • Order Placing Animals the final order of the Court awarding custody of the Caboodle Ranch cats to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.
  • For more court records see our Document Library



Documents



Please see our Document Library for bank statements, veterinary records, animal control evaluations, and other authoritative documents.




Photographs

 




Video



PETA: Undercover Video
Warning: Video contains graphic and disturbing footage taken at Caboodle Ranch. Caution is advised for sensitive viewers.



ASPCA: 700 Cats Pulled from Overwhelmed Florida Sanctuary



Sheriff Ben Stewart Explains the Seizure




Testimony from Witnesses to Cruelty

If you visited a factory farm or puppy mill, you’d expect to see animals suffering horribly. You wouldn’t expect this at a cat rescue, where caring people pay money to place pets they can’t keep, and where ferals are given a second chance.

The rescue is called Caboodle Ranch, 711 S. E. Benchmark Drive, Lee, FL. Check out their website! You’ll see carefree cats on wooded acreage, where colorful pet-houses line the path, providing adequate shelter for all. Food is available 24/7; medical care as needed. There’s a fee of 100-200 dollars per cat, depending on how many you bring. The caretaker, Craig Grant, gives discounts if you bring multiples. The more, the better!

We do TNR but some cats that are in bad condition. We take those in, get them medical care, and when they are healthy, we try and rehome them.

All placements are handled by Nannette via e-mail kastlekats@yahoo.com Craig rarely answers the phone. Cats are to be fixed, and vaccinated (rabies and distemper) before they arrive. Leukemia shots are NOT required. STUPID ME–it never crossed my mind to do this before taking them; they never went out.

We made arrangements and drove 215 miles (each way)–from Davenport to Lee, on Sat. 11/28. In addition to the $200.00 per cat, Craig asked for an extra $60.00 to cover leukemia shots. Without hesitation, we paid. We want the best for our cats. We also supplied Revolution packets. Craig agreed to isolate Evan and Emma until the shots took effect; he placed them in a large pen.

Walking out, I noticed several sick cats (bad upper-respiratory); bony ones as well. My husband was focused on the positive aspects—the trees, the houses, tree-houses, fountains, freedom, etc. When I voiced my concerns about a cat who had thick green fluid, Craig became very defensive. He said his vet, Dr. Lewis, was there earlier that day; the cats were on meds and “recovering.” I began second-guessing myself. Am I too critical?

My gut feelings told me NOT to leave our cats, but my brain took much longer to decipher the input. My husband and I discussed the red flags on our trip home. We e-mailed Nannette immediately. She could keep the money; we just wanted our cats back. She said we could come for them, but Craig would not be available.; he’d leave the gate unlocked.

We went back the very next day, Sun. 11/29. Evan, terrified, was hiding in a dog house. Emma was gone. There were several other cats in this “isolation” pen—some tame; others were feral and fought viciously. So much for isolation!

It was a dog pen, and some cats kept getting their heads stuck in the large chain links, as they tried to escape. My husband had to free one’s head before it hung itself. The pen had no bottom. There was a large hole that looked like it was dug from the outside-in. I learned later, Caboodle has a coyote problem.

There was no one in sight, so we walked around the property, calling Emma’s name. She often jumped on our bed with us, but she never let us touch her. I doubt she’d come to us now. The sickness and other conditions we observed were deplorable.

Kittens, and healthy cats intermingled with the sick ones. It was evident that some males were unaltered, and a mother cat nursed 2 kittens. Food was available; several large bags were torn open on the ground. Some cats were just too sick to eat.

My husband tried to call Craig several times—no answer. I noticed a name on a carrier. I believed it was “Nannette,” and memorized the phone number. I called her on the way home, and began voicing my concerns, but it was the wrong person—her name was “Annette”

She too, traps and neuters, and paid Craig to take 2 cats just 1 week earlier. She too, had reservations about leaving her cats there. Craig requested that she bring ALL her strays—at a price, of course. Our lengthy discussion validated each other’s concerns.

Annette works part-time as a vet tech and was especially concerned about a cat suffering from liver failure (yellow ears). Craig informed her he does not believe in euthanasia; “I just go around and pick up the dead bodies.”

On Mon. 11/30, I called Madison County Animal Control, which consists of 1 person–Jamie Willoughby. He confirmed my worst fears, and then some. He visited Caboodle about 12 times in the last year, I believe. He seemed very caring, and expressed numerous concerns.

Animal Control had tested some of the cats and found 7 to 8 different diseases, including Giardia. Mr. Willoughby added that women, from all over, pay Craig to take their house-cats that have never been outside, and never subjected to disease. They’re dead in no time. He said, “ Caboodle is a black spot on our county.” He believes Craig has about 125 cats, but added that Craig claims he has over 300, for publicity purposes.

In an e-mail to Nannette, I demanded my cat back. They took our money, and lost our cat within 24 hours! This is totally irresponsible and fraudulent. If we hadn’t gone back, would we ever know that Emma never received the inoculations we paid for, went missing almost immediately, and may have been killed within hours of our departure?

Nannette, as the contact person, was just as liable as Craig. I questioned how they can continue to accept healthy house cats, charge people for the placement, then put them together with so many diseased cats, only to have them become ill and die?

She immediately threatened me with false accusations, and provided the name of her lawyer, Ann Shorstein in Jacksonville, FL. She stated that Ann teaches Animal Law at a FL University, and does pro bono work for Caboodle. She added their lawyer said I need to come for my cat on Fri. 12/4. Yes!!!

Annette also made arrangements to retrieve her 2 cats, and we made the trip together. Once again, Caboodle didn’t have Emma. Furthermore, 1 of Annette’s cats was missing. We searched the grounds, but never found them. Although we didn’t see our cats, we saw so much more of Caboodle Ranch–much more than Craig could ever have anticipated.

He accompanied us on our search; however, we were determined, and he couldn’t keep us from looking into the numerous pens and a trailer. We went inside this trailer.

Surely, everyone has seen pictures of Jewish concentration camps and the rows of dead bodies! But the cats weren’t dead yet. There were rows of them along the walls of this trailer. I touched some of them. They opened their eyes, so I knew they were still alive; but they looked dead. They were just too weak to lift their heads.

I’m the first one to aid a sick or injured animal; there were just so many of them; I could do nothing. This was NOT an isolation unit—any cat could enter through the open window that has a ladder leading up to it. A white and grey-tabby kitten, that appeared healthy less than a week ago, sat on a shelf directly above the sick cats. She had thick green mucous all over her face.

A large dog pen housed about 10 cats. (Several pens did.) Craig informed us that these cats belonged to a couple who was undergoing chemotherapy; he was boarding them. They were all sick. We questioned Craig about the sick cats we observed on earlier visits. “They’re in my office.” He added that he has the cat with liver problems on intervenous, and he’s reversing the liver disease with B-12.

Caboodle’s wooden houses are painted to resemble town buildings: Wal-Mart (with little metal shopping carts in front), a school, a church, etc. Cats are everywhere, running and climbing. Many are beautiful and appear healthy. These first impressions could be very deceiving. The decorations do absolutely nothing for the cats, and the cats you don’t see, desperately need medical attention (or euthanasia).

I took Emma to Caboodle. I ripped her out of a safe, familiar, healthy environment, and away from her friends. I’ve seen TV clips where Animal Control catches cats with rabies poles and cages–it’s not very humane! Yet out of desperation, I called AC–that’s how bad Caboodle is. If she’s not already dead, Emma could be caught with a rabies pole and destroyed. How could I do this to her?

My husband asked Craig how many cats he has. “ Over 300, but I’d like 3000.” What a lucrative business—charging desperate, caring people to take their homeless cats at 100-200 dollars each! When they die a month later, he just takes more.

Visitors walk down the path lined with painted houses, while Craig boasts about the wonderful life he provides. He’s totally oblivious to the pain and suffering, i.e., if you say, “Craig, that cat is sick,” he’ll reply something to the effect: Aren’t the houses neat? Look how good they have it here.

Nannette supposedly lives in North Carolina and rarely sees the place. I sincerely believed she would be concerned to hear about the conditions at Caboodle. Instead she immediately threatened legal action. Craig claims Discovery Channel and “the Japanese” filmed Caboodle and were going to air it on TV.

On Sun. 12/6, Larry and I, armed with cameras, again made the long trip. We e-mailed Nannette before leaving, and informed her we would be searching for Emma again–Craig takes her calls. There’s a lock on the gate. If you don’t follow the rules, he may not answer, and the long trip would be futile.

Craig can’t remember what he says one time to the next; we caught him in so many lies. Chuck was kicked out of a motel, living there with about 20 cats. He keeps them in a pen at Caboodle; he does odd jobs in return. Few of his cats are fixed. Upon arrival (12/6), Craig introduced “my manager, Chuck, he’ll escort you.”

Chuck followed closely behind Larry; I walked in the other direction, and slipped into the trailer housing the dying cats. It had been cleaned up; only a few remained. I managed to get a few photos of them, but they didn’t come out very well.

I took photos of the the isolation pen (where my cats were kept) and where other cats almost hung themselves. I also took photos of the filthy bowls, trash lying on the grounds, and empty cat food cans—cats eat from these cans; others get fed on styrofoam plates. Craig appeared, so I rejoined Larry and Chuck.

I questioned Chuck about the numerous (office-type) trailers; there are 6 on the property — some without windows. “We house the feral ones there. They’re mean suckers. Look at my hands. That’s from changing litter pans in their cages.” I questioned why they keep some feral cats in cages, in trailers with NO windows. “We use leather gloves and tame them quicker that way.”

He pointed to one trailer, “that’s the infirmary, where the sick cats go.” Perhaps this is where the dying cats were moved to. Oddly, there was an open window with a cat-ladder leaning up to it, so the healthy ones can visit.

I was not allowed in this trailer, but in spite of Chuck’s warning, I tried the door; it was locked. The windows were very dirty, but you could see the tops of cages; the trailer is raised several feet off the ground, so you can’t just look in the windows. I was not allowed in the secluded trailers in the woods, either.

Thick straw mounds line the bottoms of the many sheds and pens. Craig boasts that he heats these enclosures on cold nights. Space heaters are there to prove it — right on the straw! THIS IS A FIRE HAZARD! Cats can be burned to death in these pens. He can start a forest fire!

I believe Craig diagnoses and treats many of the cats himself. He begged Annette (a vet tech) for meds.

Ann Blecher – Dec 7, 2009

I feel that I can say that I got to know Craig very well and have been out to CR many times now. I checked it out the first time when I was only considering bringing my 3 babies there in March 2010. I decided after one trip to bring my 3 babies out on Easter Sunday, April 4th. I gave Craig a $500.00 donation and was assured by him and his volunteer, someone at the time who was helping on weekends in hopes of relinquishing her 30 cats to him as she had lost her job and was losing her home, that my babies would be fine and held in a kennel for 4-6 weeks. Of course I did not love this, but those are the rules. I can see how that sounds crazy since I left them there, but I had no choice at the time, or at the very least, felt I did not.

12 days later when I went back after calling Craig about 3 times a day, 2 of my babies were gone. My girl, Tinkerbell was so depressed looking. She was in the far kennel and she actually scratched me when I pulled her out of a carrier she sat in up on a shelf, surrounded by approximately 8 cats, maybe more, they were all black and hissing. I guessed they were feral. There was also another huge cat that flipped out and clung all spread out to the cage wall, simply yowling. Craig’s response to my shock was that he had no idea where they were and that he saw them that morning, and get this, to come out of there because I was upsetting the cats. He left me up there and I took her back into my arms.

I made a second huge mistake and left my precious Tinkerbell girl down at the base camp that day. I was so very confused and I believe in shock and this decision tore me up but I swear at the time it is just the way it was. I was just so scared for my other two babies that I thought they needed her, and they would find one another and I would come back and get all 3 when they started to hang around the base camp.

I made 10 trips and I never saw one of them again. I told Craig around my 7th trip that if I had come out there 1 or 2 more times first, I would have never left them there. I have told Craig he needs a lot more help there. I have confirmation that there are Coyotes everywhere there. Yes, one confirmation is from Craig.

I will never be happy again. Not one of them on one of those trips, have ever come to my voice or whistles.

So what do I think or know, now? I know that this man told me every day for 12 days that my babies were safe, fine, eating and good but when I got there two had magically vanished. I received no explanation because he had just seen them that morning. Plus, when I have said things to Craig, he gets mad. I am not lying, or deceiving or talking badly here. I am just telling the truth. It hurts for me to tell the truth.

In fact Craig told me I am the only person who has EVER called to check on their cats after dropping them and who has ever wanted their cats back in all the years he has been out there. I have called him probably 250 times out of 300 days for example. What more can I do. I cry every day and night and I suffer with guilt and shame and miss them every second of my life. It is nearly 8 months and I just want to die so I guess saying all of this and telling the truth does not matter any way. I will never, ever see my loves again. What do I think happened to them from what I fear could have? This part hurts too because I did not think first.

Coyotes ate them, disease got them, fear and hiding and starvation, ran out to road and got run over, snake bite, killed by another cat, I mean, you tell me. I may not have known CR but I know my babies and I really believe they are gone forever. Coyotes, yes Craig told me they are there. Snakes, yes, Craig told me they are there. Are cats there sick or sad, or starving, or needing medical care, or cold or hot, or dying or dead? Yes an you can bet everything you have that I would have never taken them there if I knew what I know now. Just know, these sweet beautiful creatures are living in the woods amongst so many things they can not fight or speak up about.

I think it is very sad to say that these cats are not cared for properly other than if they stay on the property they do have a place they can be. Do coyotes come in, I would have to say most definitely. Can I prove it? Other than telling you they have completely and consistently lied about the numbers. Is that enough proof? How about the neighbors consider it a coyote feeding ground. Is that enough proof? When does it become enough proof? Are the trailers filthy, beyond anything humane, absolutely without a doubt. Proof? In the pictures taken and all of the witnesses with no reason to lie about it!

Is there a lot of disease. Yes there is and this does not include the ones that don’t even come in near enough for help or wander off so ill. Anyone who has been there has seen too much of this. I have a nightmare list of things that I slowly witnessed. I feel helpless. There must be someone with the authority to determine this place is unsafe! How can one cat surviving 6 dying be okay? I would conservatively estimate that there has had to be 100′s of them come through there. Absolutely no records or ways to count heads. Absolutely no safe haven or protection. Absolutely no discipline for losing cats. No accounting for actions. I have known of so many kittens that have died horribly there. There is only one conclusion, animal abuse. I can not forgive myself for what I have done to my babies.

Pamela Jonasson – March 2010

I visited The Caboodle Ranch for cats in Lee, Florida on August 19-21, 2010 and it was not a good experience.  My husband Donald Shields, VMD and I decided to pack up our car with meds ad vaccines and other supplies to donate and help the cats for the owner Craig Grant.  The person who was our email and phone contact to set up the trip was a woman named Nanette.

When we first arrived at the ranch there were many cats locked outside of the compound and the horrible stench about the whole place was overwhelming.  We were there to volunteer our services so we tried to overlook many of the sick, dirty, pregnant and intact male cats wandering among the ones who looked healthy on our tour.  We had a job to do and didn’t want to offend him and get thrown off the property as he said he did to another woman who complained about the filth and the sick cats!  I had started to ask why there were so many sick cats and told him he needed to get some help to keep his waters and litter boxes cleaner when he told me the story (as a warning?)  He toured the Ranch with us for about and hour and a half and he was proud and thought he was doing a great job.  He kept asking us “isn’t this a great place for my cats”?  Well, after a little while into our tour, it certainly wasn’t the lovely Caboodle that we saw on the internet!  We realized it couldn’t be perfect with 300 plus cats and still had hope that it would be a good day.

We eventually had to stop the touring and tell Craig we had to get to work as it was close to 11:00 a.m.  He led us to a trailer that was “cleaned” out the day before by volunteers and he said he was going to go in and tidy it up a bit more.  To our disappointment the trailer was filthy and smelled putrid inside (worse than the air outside) the floor was filthy, plastic water bowls had scum on the bottom.  I cleaned all of them out for him and told him they should be replaced with ceramic or stainless steel.  I advised him that plastic gets scratches in it from the cats clawing at them and it holds in the bacteria.

To the left inside the trailer there were eight dog crates stacked two deep with two cats to a cage.  The cats in them were all sick with upper respiratory and who knows what else.

They all were very thin, no longer grooming themselves, sneezing and coughing and most had diarrhea.  The litter boxes were not clean, they were crusted around the edges with old diarrhea and urine and there was feces and litter on the floors of all of the cages.  The sick cats had no choice but to lay in their own feces because there was no shelf in the cage or clean place for them to lie down on.  No towels were provided for the sick cats or the sick kittens to cuddle up in.  I offered to clean out the litters immediately, but I was told that he would clean them later.    Just outside of the trailer there was a kiddie pool of standing water that hadn’t been emptied in quite a while because there was algae growing in the bottom.  It was never cleaned out in the two days we were there.  We asked Craig how he planned on keeping the water clean to control the bacteria and parasites in the standing water?   He answered that he was going to build a cement pool with a filtration system starting the project by October 2010.  We questioned why there were so many sick kittens, pregnant queens and intact males free roaming about the ranch.  His answer, “people give them to me not neutered and it is very expensive to get them fixed , my veterinarian charges me full price and the kittens don’t do very well here.”

Craig might have started out his mission with good intentions for the cats in his care, but I think he has taken in too many cats and is totally overwhelmed.  For example, I asked Craig to bring a very sickly thin cat that was outside of the trailer in to my husband for treatment.  I was following behind him as he scruffed the sick cat by the neck and was walking him inside the trailer. The cat turned around and bit Craig, he then cursed and drop-kicked the cat across the room HARD with his pointy cowboy boots.  The cat went flying across the floor.  I would think that a man who was in charge of a cat sanctuary would have a pair of leather gloves, a freeman cage net or a carrier to transport sick cats and  would know enough not to risk carrying a full grown adult a long distance by the scruff of his neck.

It doesn’t seem like Craig educated himself or did any research on how to run a cat  sanctuary and properly care for sick or healthy cats before he opened up The Caboodle.  Case in point,   we witnessed him remove a very dehydrated sick cat from one of the cages and give him fluids, he then used the same needle over and over for different cats throughout the day!  This practice is unacceptable.  I gave him a box of several different gauge needles to administer fluids and told him the proper way was to change needles for each cat.  When I pointed out that several kittens in the trailer needed eye meds as they all had eye infections and pus in their eyes.  Craig then proceeded to wipe their eyes with his dirty fingers!  I gasped and said “no, no your fingers are so dirty-  let me give wipe them with a wet cotton ball and give them drops.”  When I returned Craig had a Clorox wipe and wiped the eyes with it before I could administer the eye drops.  Not good. These are the actions of a person who is not properly educated in animal husbandry.

I will end my story after I describe one more cat’s dilemma.  The cat that had a protruding fractured rib that was sticking out of his side I was petting him outside of Craig’s office when I felt the rib.  To my horror Craig said he was thinking about pulling the rib out himself. The rib should have been surgically removed and the wound sutured. Why was it not given medical care?

Donna Munizza Shields – Aug, 2010

My wife asked me to accompany her to the Caboodle Cat Ranch in Lee, Florida to bring two feral cats there that she rescued.  She was told by Nanette, who manages Craig Grant’s website that if we helped a few cats that needed dentals and other problems that the fee for our cats would be waived.

Because of the driving distance from Pennsylvania and the amount of supplies in our car we decided not to take our cats there.  We still wanted to volunteer our time and help the cats, so we drove there from our home in Bucks County.

We arrived in Lee on August 19, 2010 and drove straight to the Ranch, so we would know exactly where we were going the next morning.  I saw several cats wandering around locked outside of the compound and immediately smelled a putrid stench.  The next day when Craig gave us a tour the horrible smell was everywhere outside and worse inside the trailers.

I found the conditions at the Caboodle Ranch deplorable.  It was not a clean and safe haven for the cats living there as promised on the website.  The trailer we were checking the sick cats in and  his office trailer  were filthy, and all the water sources I saw were unclean. I saw many cats outside of the trailers in various states of illness.  Upon talking to Craig about various other volunteers that he said he escorted off of the property when they crossed him I decided if I was going to help the cats, I had better not be confrontational.

When I found out that he had been there for seven years I was surprised at the lack of necessary basics he was not providing for the cats.  I witnessed standing dirty water that Craig said his cats got giardia from drinking, intact males and pregnant females were roaming freely,  the kittens I saw all had upper respiratory infections. Inside the trailer there were very thin sick cats in very dirty cages with no clean space to lie down on. I saw no support staff in the two days I was there.

It seems to me that Craig is overwhelmed and can no longer give proper veterinary care and daily living care to the cats residing with him.  I would suggest that the cats be removed from Mr. Grant’s care and the Caboodle Ranch be closed.

Donald Shields, DVM - Aug, 2010

The first time we visited CR was on 29th of August 2010. My husband and I and another lady who had just donated 5000.00$ on the 28th of July. I have acquainted with her last summer from feeding the same feral cat site in the area.

I and my husband have personally trapped many cats and found them home from the site and this lady said CR is a Kitty Paradise and Craig is a beautiful man and so on… and she offered us to take 4 of them .The first one was on 28th July. He was a sweet black cat. We called him Angelo and we have had him under our care since 2nd of June. He had mange, worms, and everything. Therefore, we treated him and he was healthy after 2 months. I also saved 19 kittens in the past 6 months personally where they are being abandoned. 4 of them are only 2-3 weeks old and could barely stand up. But they all survived and very happy.

So we had our house filled at that time so we did agree with her and let Angelo go to CR with the promise that she and her boyfriend will bring him back if the place is not right. Angelo was a feral since he was born so we decided that he needs the outdoor space, which we do not have. Then she came back and told us that how beautiful that place was.

Again, on 11th of August, she brought one Calico we called her Bella and the other black mother cat and a beautiful daughter to CR again under the impression that they are going to a very happy and safe place for cats. The feral site they were before in our area has alligator, snakes, pit bulls and rowdy teenagers and some of the cats have been victimized and killed in horrible way. So we really thought we are taking them to a kitty paradise. We also checked the website and the guestbook and we naively believed that we are helping these kitties.

Again, on 29 August we have 2 more black kitties that have clean bills of health before going (all the cats we trapped are all fixed and being treated of diseases and given shots up to date). My husband and I were hopeful and excited. However, once we parked the car in that driveway, we were shocked and speechless. We expected some imperfection in animal shelters but what we saw was too much to bear. Almost all of them who came out to the car had mucus in their eyes and noses and skin diseases and walking around with tilted heads and one of them was with the fresh wound on her head. Craig arrived later than we were so we had about 15 minutes to observe the cats on the driveway and outside the property.

We saw more of the same once we got in. I wanted to cry right away, and I had it up to my throat. I saw a calico lying with big bloody hole around her stomach area on the bench to the right. Then we passed the couple of cute houses and we saw a little kitten on the plastic bag lethargically lying. My husband went to see her, picked her up and she looked very sick with the eyes infections. Then the lady and Craig interrupted us to send our 2 black kitties we called her Zanotti and Dundee to the kennel area. The sight reminds me of the scene in those holocaust movies. In my mind, I liked to turn back and saved these two. But the lady and Craig are talking about his upcoming trip to Las Vegas and very friendly and we just tried to be polite to this lady and we did leave D and Z there foolishly and cowardly.

There are so many sick kitties inside and around the kennel area and they were all desperately looking for attention. I would say 70% – 80% of them did not look well at all. I was so concerned. My husband and I were just following them quietly. I did not understand why both of our minds are shut down and could not even speak to each other for a long time while walking around CR and looking for our four kitties. I feel so stupid still. We were hoping the 3 kitties we brought 2 weeks ago would still be in the kennel. But no. Craig said he would never let any cat get out of kennel before he can touch them. This is a complete lie. I asked him how many black cats he has. He just said he does not know, but he has a way to know all of them, we both knew that this was a complete BS.

Then we saw another kitten without one eye with the runny nose following us. We asked him what happened and he said he lost it since he was small. That kitten is still small and we could see the fresh wound and puss from his eyes that day. Moreover, we walked across Wal-Mart and City hall to the other trailer. On our left passed Wal-Mart, there are two old, skinny cats lethargically laying and trying to breath so hard in the heat. In addition, another group of kittens eating in front of that trailer. Many sick cats came up to us ad did not let us go. They all look very ill with oozing eyes and nose. It was the saddest feelings when we left. All the cats out side the locked door are still out there, looking sick.

I could not speak all the way home with the heavy heart being sad, confused and shocked. After we dropped that lady off at her house, as soon as our car pulled in the garage, I broke down. Crying so loud and realized that we did make a mistake. My husband also with the teary eyes promised that he would contact Nannette right away to get the last two cats back.. Therefore, he wrote her couple of emails and attempted to call. Nannette came down from NC to Caboodle Ranch that week because that coming weekend Craig was going to Las Vegas with his son.

On the 1st of September evening, Nannette told us that the 2 cats are not eating and scared so she would let us take them back . So we went the next day to retrieve them from the kennel and we realized how filthy that was and how sickly looking almost all cats are in and around the kennel area. We thought Nannette will help us retrieving them but I can tell she did not even want to go in the kennel herself. She was extra friendly, talkative, and trying to have answers for all our questions after we getting Z&D… She said the cats are being medicated so I asked her that how long does it take then she said about half an hour to one hour. What a joke? All supposively 500 kitties…We just listened what she had to say.

Then there was a skinny yellow cat came to drink water in front of us it was with the fresh bloody tail. She answered that the cat is fine, she already checked with Dr. Lewis and it is okay. She must have thought we are lower IQ than she is. After that, we saw a recently built kennel next to the Chapel and there were 15 beautiful house cats from Georgia in there. Nannette told us that the owner is terminally ill and she sent them there. And then she explained that some people would put up a trust funds and if we would like we can talk to her lawyer or so…By the drying out pond area, we brought some about100 cans of fancy Feast and they everyone who were in that area came to eat hungrily. One little skinny Calico who almost looks like our lost Bella ate four cans alone. I patted her and she was so sweet I almost wanted to steal her .That time we spent almost 3 hours hoping that we will find the previous four. But NO, we were happy to have Zanotti and Dundee back in the car to the way home but reality hit again and I cried again for all the sick kitties and we had to leave them without help.

I felt worse than previous visit, so helpless…uncontrollable, I felt like my heart would explode at that moment. I think of Bella and the crew, little sick kittens all of them at caboodle every day and night. My bedtime is not a sleep time anymore. Both my days and nights become nightmares. I had to go to the doctors 3 times because I was getting sick although I had to function to take care of the foster kittens we rescued at home. I cannot sleep. I do not want to do any thing else. My husband saw my agony so he tried to contact Nannette to try to find Bella and the crew.

No reply for a while finally my husband wrote here a strong letter and she finally wrote him that we could go on that Saturday which was on 6 November. We could not make it that weekend so we went there on the 13th. Nanette wrote to us in the email that we are not to feed any of them, because Craig got some special cans for them. What a lame excuse! We met three nice people from St. Pete. in front of the property before Craig let us in. They were already upset over seeing the outside cats with so many sicknesses. They did not even want to go in. However, I told them they had to see it to prove that it is worst inside. They did not stick around long because the ladies started to cry and left. I now do keep in touch with them. They totally agree with us that how horrible environment for the cats there.

We noticed there are fewer cats than our previous trip in early September. I saw some beautiful big grey and white cats brought into the kennel area next to chapel on that day. One of them was crying loud and did not want to get out of the carrier…It was heart breaking. I never felt that helpless. I thought I died there. Then my husband reminded me that I should give up and go. I wanted to bring one little white kitten with one eye completely gone, and the other almost, lethargically laying on the hay. But my husband was worried that Craig might try to give us trouble. So we did not at the end without seeing any trace of our 4 cats the lady brought up there in July and August.

We met and chat with the staff named Steve from Jacksonville and he told us that they are building the infirmary. Probably, another cover up for the open house. My husband suggested Steve that they should cut down some trees at the kennel area to get some sunshine and to clean up. Again, Steve answered that he already asked Craig and Craig said no…, Of course, I was sad, angry, mad, anxious, and worried and oh, how I wish I had power at that moment to undo all the sufferings and deaths of little ones out there. I am still sad; I know I am very unhappy. I do not have clear conscience in my cat rescue volunteering anymore. I am full of guilt like never before. How foolish of me to make this mistake with the lives of these helpless kitties? Did I just lose these four feral kitties that already had very hard lives out there? Yes, we gave them food everyday and cared for them and loved them and finally we just happened to betrayed them and feed them to the coyotes, of course, the worst beast in CR is Craig himself.

We were critically misled by the video and thoughtless guidance from the former acquaintance and volunteer. I just feel so stupid and wrong. This terrible mistake will haunt me for a long long time, perhaps forever. I know I will not have a restful night or peaceful day until we could help these remaining kitties as well as the new ones who are going to face fear and desperation. Please help us stop this atrocities and kitties holocaust. I will be of help and strength in anyway to stop revealing the truth of Caboodle Ranch and preventing all loving pet owners not to face the saddest outcome like we did and most importantly to stop the animal cruelty under so called Safe and Protected Sanctuary only to fatten their pockets tax free.

Nyein Nyein Kyi – Aug, 2010

I live in St Petersburg, Fl, which is an approximate 4 hour drive one way to your area. I had heard about Caboodle Ranch back in July, but waited till the weather cooled to spend a wonderful few hours with the beautiful cats and the surroundings that I saw on the Caboodle Ranch website. My sister, brother-in-law and myself drove to the Caboodle Ranch this past Saturday, 11-13. Between us we have 6 cats and are just all around animal lovers. The 8 hour round trip was not an obstacle for us due to what we thought we’d find. We were expecting to spend 2 glorious hours of loving, hugging, and playing with all the cats and kittens, but due to the heartbreaking things and creatures we saw, we didn’t spend more than 1/2 hour there. The situation is horrendous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ve no doubt you have already received several horror stories about what is actually taking place there, but I just can’t sit back and not speak my mind in hopes something will be done to stop the cruelty that is going on. We only saw about 100 cats and out of them at least 75 looked sick. Many just skin and bones. Some missing eyes. Many missing patches of fur. One missing a leg, which must have been recently amputated, and the entire area where the healing was taking place was entirely covered in tiny bugs of some kind. All the cats were surrounded by gnats and are flea bitten. Many of the cats were either sneezing, coughing and had runny eyes and noses and since they all eat and drink out of the same places, whatever illness they have they pass to each other.

Some of them are frightened and just run away, but others crawl up your legs just begging for affection. So in spite of it all, we still managed to pick a few up and hugged them and heard them purr.

Thankfully we brought a change of clothes with us because I was fearful maybe one or two of them may have been sick and I insisted we change our clothes before coming home to our own cats. We stopped at the gas station right down the road and did a total scrub down and with anti-bacterial soap and changed our clothes. We were so upset we barely spoke all the way home.

We also met another couple there and chatted with them. It had been their 3rd time to the Ranch and they are disgusted too and have been in touch with you to have something done as well. They have gone back to see if anything has changed and instead of it getting better, they said it’s getting worse. My brother in law called earlier this week and was told he would receive a call back. This has not happened as of yet.

Unfortunately we did leave monetary donations with the owner, Craig, who afterwards told us he spent $5000.00 in legal fees the week before to keep the place open. I’m sorry I left him money and wished I had brought food other supplies for the cats. He’s probably using the donations he gets for legal fees and not the cats!

Joseph Solbit – Nov, 13 2010

I rescue and foster cats (in my home), as well as having my own ‘pet’ cats. At the time I had 30 rescue cats I was caring for and I needed to find homes or a no-kill shelter. All the no-kill shelters in my area were full.

Prior to taking the cats to Caboodle Ranch all the cats were all healthy and taken very good care of. They were well feed and had fresh water, fresh litter, and love on a daily basis. I also invested a lot of money into veterinary bills if they became sick. They had all been spayed/neutered, and were up to date on their vaccinations.

After not succeeding in finding a safe home or no-kill shelter I did some online research and found Caboodle Ranch’s website. “Wow”, I thought… “It’s a miracle… this man doesn’t turn away a single cat!” I checked out the site over and over again, watched the little videos of Craig Grant and his kitties.  It all seemed so perfect and beautiful… those adorable little cat-sized buildings, being able to roam free, but within a safe, secure fenced in area.  The perfect dream for every cat!

After several attempts to contact Craig, he finally answered the phone. I was beside myself… nervous, happy… all sorts of mixed feelings. I told him my situation, and that I have to find a safe place for my babies. He agreed to take 15 “in about a week”, and then stated that after that, we’d figure on a date for the rest that needed to go somewhere safe.  He told me that it is $150.00 per cat to place at the ranch. I told him that I couldn’t afford $2,250 as I was on a limited income. He agreed to take them after all, but made it a point to have me come up with as much money as I could at a later date. I also told him I could bring some food, blankets, and a couple of electric heaters, if that would help. He agreed to those things as well.  He had asked me if they were all up to date on their shots and fixed. I told him that “yes, they were”. He asked me to bring the paperwork on them with me when I bring the cats.  He did seem mainly more concerned about me coming up with as much money as I could, though.

Finally, we agreed on February 1, 2011. He was very concerned about keeping it quiet and told me to bring them in the evening and to not tell anyone, that he didn’t want any authorities finding out. I should have took that as a sign right there, but was blinded by the fact that this man, this “angel” was kind and concerned enough about my cats to take them and give them a safe, secure, and loving forever home, that I just did what he asked me to do. My friend Joseph and I got everything that we could think of ready, and packed the van with the kitties. I was very emotional about this, but it had to be done, and besides, they were going to a “kitty paradise”, and I could go up and visit with them whenever I wanted to, which I had planned to make it a point to do once a month.

Somewhere over time we had misplaced a few of the records. They were scattered in different rooms of the house. “Darn it”, we thought. We’d just have to try to explain to Craig when we arrived that we had misplaced a few records, but will bring them the next trip up. We were just in such a rush that we couldn’t take any more time looking. We had to get on the road! I kept looking back at my kitties during the trip up to Caboodle.  They seemed so scared and ‘unsure’ of what was happening.  Boo-Boo, my friendly, sweet, shy orange tabby (I’d known him since he was a baby, but rescued him out of my colony about a year prior), looked especially sad… depressed.  I reassured them all that it was going to be ok.  That mommy loved them very much, and that was why I was taking them to Caboodle Ranch.  I promised them that they’d all be just fine, happy, and safe… I “promised”.

We finally arrived at the ranch and waited for Mr. Grant to come open the gate. I was greeted by so many adorable kitties, surrounding me & begging me for my attention and some affection. Mr. Grant greeted us at the gates after a few minutes. While he and Joe took the carriers of my kitties back to the kennels, I stayed behind and petted the kitties. As they came back up for more, I pointed out to Craig that I noticed one black cat that had scabies.  He became very defensive and said, “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t talk about my cats”. I assured him that I was not trying to be critical.  I had just wanted to inform him in case he had not realized that this kitty had cat scabies (sarcoptic mange), so that he could take the proper steps in getting the kitty medical attention to treat this. After he calmed down, he came back to me and told me that his “veterinarian is coming tomorrow and doing sulfur dips” on the cats with scabies. I left well enough alone at that point. I had no reason to doubt him, but did find it a bit odd that he became so defensive.

I couldn’t breathe well anymore, so I had to go sit in the car. I was in tears as I spoke to the last two of my babies before they came to the car to get them. Craig leaned in to grab the last carrier, saw me crying, and said, “Don’t worry… they’re gonna be just fine”. I believed him when he told me that. When all the cats had been placed in the kennels, he gave us back our carriers-said he wouldn’t be needing them. He took my $200.00 cash and put it in his pocket. I also left him with heaters, blankets, and cat food. He never asked for us to fill out and sign release forms or any papers which I thought was odd.

We asked him when he thought we could arrange for the rest to be brought up. He told us that he was taking in about 20 the very next day from some woman, but that he had some more donations coming in from someone else, and that he could use their donation money toward taking in my next batch, maybe in about 3 more weeks. He told us to give him a call every 3-4 days to check on them. We left for our long trip back to Daytona Beach. We both had a funny feeling, like a “gut” feeling that something didn’t seem right, but we justified those feelings by telling one another that Caboodle Ranch promises to keep them safe and well cared for. Also, we figured that it just didn’t look so pretty there, like on the website or in their pictures and videos, because it was night time and dark. So we gave the place the benefit of the doubt.

We called Craig every 3 to 4 days as instructed. He always said, “Everything’s fine… perfect” and that they were all in the kennel and adjusting well. Somewhere between 1 to 1-1/2 weeks later, during a call, he had told me that they were doing “perfect”, as usual, and were roaming freely in and out of the kennels. I was shocked when I heard this. I was told they were going to be kept for at least 3 to 4 weeks in the kennels. I asked him if he was sure they were all there and if they were all really fine. I also asked if any of them were depressed and not eating. He assured me every single time that they were all there and doing great… “perfect”.

We had planned on coming back with more cats in 3 weeks, but this kept being delayed when we’d call. He’d told us things like they were doing construction, so it wouldn’t be a good time. I was even told that he’d had an emergency situation with a woman who was losing her home, and he was taking in her 20 or 25 cats. Things began to get to us and we weren’t feeling right about something. Finally, we just planned on coming up there to see what was up and to check on our cats. Joe informed him that we would be coming up on March 11th and we just wanted to visit our cats and weren’t bringing anymore with us. It was just going to be a visit. Craig said ok, but make it after 2PM.

We arrived at 2PM. Craig wasn’t there yet, so we waited… and waited, outside the gate. There were at least 14 cats or more outside of the gate walking around, in the woods, in the driveway, down by the street, across the street at the old chicken coop. Finally Craig arrived near 3PM, after Joe had called him to tell him we’d been waiting. He let us in and told us we could roam freely around the property.  We searched the entire property for 4 hours that day for our cats, yelling out their names. Only 4 of them were there. One was a feral we had rescued. He was hiding in the rear east kennel, under a flap. He looked terrified. The other 3 appeared to be doing alright, except 2 of them, “Sir”, and “Baby Girl”, each had one eye that was squinted and appeared thinner. “Baby Girl” was also sneezing. We fed them a can each of soft food that we’d brought with us and gave them some love. It became late, and Craig had his son Rob come & tell us they were closing up & that we’d have to go. We would have taken them out of there that day, but we had to just bite our tongues, because we knew if we had done this, it would all be over and he’d never allow us back, and we knew we had to come back and search for the remainder of our babies. Craig reassured us that they were all there, but that sometimes it takes a couple of visits for them to come out to us. So, we left.

We did take some pictures that day, and we had noticed only about 100 cats around the property, if even that many. The new cats in the kennels looked at us with terrified looks. There was an orange tabby with a large open gash on his neck. We felt so sorry for them. This place just wasn’t at all what we had assumed it would be, and this time we knew we weren’t just “imagining this”.

As we were walking out, I saw and heard him talking to one of his workers, Debe. He told her to come back the next day and work and he’d pay her “double-time” and winked at her. The entire trip home I was in tears. Where were the rest of my babies? Where was my “Snowball” and “Boo-Boo”? They would have for sure come out to us if they had been there. He told us to come back in about 3 weeks and continue looking.

We arrived again at Caboodle Ranch on April 19th. We arrived on time at 2PM. Craig, again, was late. This time, there were much less cats outside in the drive way hanging out. Not even close to what we saw last time. And they didn’t look very well. A lot were very thin, and 2 were walking around with their heads tilted sideways. From rescuing cats, I know this to be a sign of an inner ear/equilibrium issue, most likely due to ear mites. Many cats were scratching themselves due to fleas. One white cat had a sort of ‘yellowish’ discharge from its anus that had dyed its fur. I immediately grabbed my camera and took a picture (we both, Joe and myself, took a lot of photos and some video clips that day). We called Craig, he said he’d be there in 20 minutes. Again, we were allowed to roam freely looking for our babies. We found none, and noticed that the amount of cats had diminished drastically. We only saw maybe up to 75 cats. There were very ill cats right then that needed medical attention ASAP! About 80% of the cats we saw seemed underweight or sick with upper respiratory infections. There was a cat that’s faced appeared all clawed up and hadn’t been treated. Another cat was lying on a porch and was lethargic and had severe difficulty breathing. We got videos of both cats.

We searched for hours, scaled the entire fenced in area, looked in every little cat-sized house, building, hole, etc. None of my cats were anywhere in sight and didn’t come to my calling. I did, however, find a mother cat and 3 newborn kittens in one of the small, cat-sized buildings up front. Finally Joe yelled for me to come to where he was. He had found “Sir”, lying down near a tree. When he called for him to come, Sir attempted to stand and walk to him, and he collapsed. His legs just gave out from underneath him. He was very lethargic, sick, and underweight, as the others mostly were.

We made a plan to rescue him out of there. We asked Craig if he could open the gate for us so we could go out to the car for a cigarette. As we were walking that way, toward the entrance gate, Craig began going from cat to cat with a bottle of medicine and medicine dropper, administering the medicine to whichever cat was in the path that he was walking, not wiping or sterilizing the dropper in between cats, and administering from the same bottle. How was he to know which cat was definitely sick, and which wasn’t?

While we were out there, I stayed in the car and Joe went back in, grabbed Sir, and brought him back out. We put him in a carrier. Joe went back inside as I waited in the car with Sir. He stated to me that he had told Craig that the only place we hadn’t seen was the infirmary, or “sick bay”, and asked if he could look in there for our remaining cats. He said that Craig became defensive with him, cursed at him, told him that his attorney said nobody is to look in there and if he didn’t like it, then he could “get the fuck out”. Joe then stated to me that he said to Craig, “I don’t think you need to be talking to me like that”, and that “we didn’t just drive up, twice, 415 miles each time, to not find our cats”. Joe stated that Craig then said, “I’m sick of your shit. Get the fuck off of my property and don’t ever come back”. We left, went driving around the area.

We stopped at a neighbor’s house, just east of Caboodle Ranch. The couple, Peggy and Vaughn, were home and allowed us into their home to talk. They were very friendly and helpful, telling us what they had experienced with Caboodle Ranch cats. The cats were coming onto their property, crawling underneath their garage, and another building they had, tearing things up under there. They told me they had even submitted a bill to Mr. Grant for damages, and he had just ignored it and never paid for it. They told us that they have, and still do find dead, gutted cats killed by coyotes on their property frequently. They said there was an enormous amount of coyotes around the area. They said that they had just found a dead black one that morning. They said that the cats that do make it to their property are very thin, underweight, and appear to be starving. Vaughn stated to me that he sees no reason those cats should be starving, and wonders what Craig is doing with all of the cat food, because he sees a truck come down the road 3 times a week with pallet loads of food.

I was in complete shock by the fact that we never found our remaining cats. Only one cat survived out of 15 in 2 months and the rest had just fallen off the face of the earth.  I have suffered terrible emotional anguish from this. All I can imagine or see are those poor little faces of my babies, and what horrors they must have endured, and the fact that I brought them to this place. Then, thinking of the other people who have lost their babies there, and the poor, poor cats that still remain, plus the newcomers in the kennels still.  They don’t even know what they’re in for once they are set free from those kennels.

The fencing is definitely not secure. The cats climb over and under. They walk right through the gaps of the front gate. The idea of a sanctuary is to keep the cats ‘in’, and the predators ‘out’. This is not the way it is at Caboodle Ranch. I do not personally feel that Mr. Grant should be running an establishment of this type. Many, many cats are paying the price for this neglect and abuse with their lives, suffering slowly to death by illness, or chased down and eaten by coyotes. He took 14 of my 15 babies’ lives, he lied to me, and neither he nor Nanette showed any empathy or concern about me or my missing cats.

Nancy Buffington — Feb, 2011

I’m from the St. Louis, MO area and recently flew to Jacksonville to bring a shelter cat to Caboodle Ranch in Lee, Florida. I visited and volunteered at the ranch on February 7th and 8th. Things have seriously gone downhill at the sanctuary. After seeing the mass illnesses and suffering of cats, I could not bear to leave the shelter kitty at the ranch to die. So I left on day three with the cat and flew back to St. Louis. I’m confident, after my observations at the ranch, that this is an out-of-control hoarding situation being presented to the rest of the world as a legitimate sanctuary.

My experiance with Caboodle Ranch began when I contacted them to see if they could take an unadoptable cat that I had been fostering from a shelter in the St. Louis, MO area. I was over-joyed when Craig Grant, the owner, agreed to take her.  At the time, I was mesmerized by Craig and Caboodle Ranch based on all the wonderful things I read on the website and saw in the media. I viewed the place as a utopia for kitties and thought of Craig as a saint.

However, my joy quickly turned into sorrow and dismay after seeing the poor conditions of the cats and their terrible living environments. I literally couldn’t believe what I was seeing. How could things be so different than what I saw in the videos and photos?

There were a few hundred cats at the ranch but it’s impossible to know exactly how many since there were cats all over the place. Based on the cats that I personally saw, it appeared that over 80% of the population was sick from various illnesses and injuries. Many were emaciated. Additionally almost all the cats were infested with fleas, ear mites, and other parasites. A large portion had skin infections and hair thinning and loss. I spent the entire second day applying revolution (parasite control) to cats but was only able to medicate about 110.

Only a small portion of ill cats, about 30, were in the sick ward. The rest roamed freely throughout the ranch spreading diseases. The majority of sick cats were ill with URIs ranging from mild to severe which was evident by the mass sneezing and coughing.  Around 20% of those had severe infections with heavy nasal and ocular discharge that severely limited the cat’s ability to eat, breath, and/or see. These cats were not in quarantine and primarily piled themselves on top of each other via a cat door in two separate rooms inside the trailers. When I entered the trailers to apply revolution, many of the sick cats looked at me as if I was their last hope for survival. Others were so weak and far gone that they didn’t bother to lift their heads. They had already given up and were just waiting for their time. There was a basket of kittens about 6 months old that appeared lifeless so I picked one up and I realized that it was barely alive. It broke my heart that I couldn’t do anything for them at the time.  It was very difficult for me to keep my emotions hidden from Craig but I mustered up my strength and kept it together.

One of the very ill was a kitten inside the office trailer.  An older, very sick cat was weak and lying on top of her and she couldn’t get out from under him. The kitten was very lethargic and it didn’t appear she would make it through the night. I removed her from under the other cat and gently placed her aside. There were many more cats that were in her condition or worse. On another occasion, I was waiting outside the office trailer, and Craig came out with an orange tabby cat, cradling it in his arms. It looked lifeless and I asked him if the cat was okay. He said he needed to go take care of it and went toward the back of the property.

Then there were the approximate 30 cats in the sick ward room from various illnesses. These cats were the “sickest of the sick”. I don’t know what each cat was ill from but the sight I saw reminded me of an image from a concentration camp.  They were just skin and bones. These cats were just lying there waiting to die.

The majority of the sick cats are not currently being medicated as required. The 80% of non-quarantined cats with URIs never received medication during my visit. In fact, it would be impossible for one person to medicate hundreds of cats a day.  Also, he did not clean his hands in between handling sick cats, further spreading diseases. Craig used his dirty hands on multiple occasions to wipe mucus off a cat’s face and then picked up another cat and wiped its face.

In addition to the poor conditions of the cats, the shelter facilities were extremely filthy.  The trailers had a strong offensive smell of ammonia and feces. The floors, counters, and shelves were covered in dried up feces, urine, and vomit and the cats were lying in it. Litter and debris were thrown about the trailers. It was evident the trailers had not been cleaned in days. Each room only had two small litter boxes each for 20-25 cats to share. The tiny cat door provided no air circulation in the rooms. The air was so thick and filled with dust and dander and the strong smell of ammonia that I had difficulty breathing and sneezed persistently. While I was applying revolution to cats, I had to step outside regularly to catch a breath of fresh air.

The outdoor holding pens for the newcomers also smelled horrible. The cats in the pens looked frightened to death. Feral and domesticated cats were placed in the same pens. Some were still contained in their shipment carriers with no access to a litter box. The rain had blown into the front of the kennels and as a result the ground was muddy and the cats and their bedding were wet. There were only two small litter boxes per 7-10 cats in each pen. Therefore the cats were urinating and defecating on the ground. The cats were left to sleep on wet bedding overnight.

While at dinner together, Craig received a call from a rescuer that wanted Craig to take in 20-30 cats. He told her what animal control said about currently not taking in more cats so if he was going to take the cats, they needed to move quickly before animal control could find out.

Based on what Craig told me during dinner, it’s my opinion that he has no intention to slow down taking in more cats. In a childlike fantasy manner, he told me that he wanted all the cats in the world.  When I told him he couldn’t have them all he said, “I get mad when people tell me that.” Then in a proud, sly-like manner he said, “I’m getting your cat!” and then laughed.  I quickly realized that he wasn’t joking. We also had conversations about his future plans of expanding and increasing the cat population to 1,000. Furthermore, he said he doesn’t like for people to tell him what to do when it comes to running the ranch.

Dana Strunk – Feb, 2011

While my husband & I were recently stationed in New Orleans, we fed & cared for 4 outdoor stray cats on the military base that we lived on. When we had to move, we decided we would bring the cats to Caboodle Ranch. We could not keep them because we had too many other pets, & refused to leave them behind. We drove all the way from New Orleans to the ranch to drop off the cats in late May 2011. When we got to the ranch, we were in shock & horrified to see the condition of the ranch & the cats.

We were informed from their website that the cats would be completely fenced in & protected. That was false. When we pulled up, there were many cats on the dirt street roaming free & clearly NOT fenced in & protected from cars/traffic. Once we made our way inside the ranch, the conditions only got worse. There were cats that were clearly sick & not getting the proper medical attention they needed & deserved. There were several cats that appeared to have severe eye infections (eyes running with discharge & could barely open their eye). There were cats that looked WAY too skinny, malnourished (all I could see was their rib bones), and many were sneezing. There were cats that were hiding in several corners of kennels who were terrified & depressed. Many of the cats were absolutely filthy with wet, muddy, matted coats. My husband & I were absolutely heartbroken to see so many cats having to live like this in such a horrific environment. VERY few, if any, appeared to look healthy or clean. The large bowls of food that were available to the cats were full of damp cat kibble mixed with bugs, grass, & dirt. I even witnessed Craig pick up one of the kittens who appeared to be sick and say “Yeah this one probably won’t even last through tonight.” He seemed very carefree about the sick cats at the ranch.

Needless to say, we did NOT end up leaving the cats there at the ranch. We ended up keeping one of them, & we made other arrangements for the other 3 at a no-kill shelter.

It was hard to sleep after seeing all of these poor animals not getting the proper medical treatment & attention they need & deserve. I think Craig’s original intentions were good, but he has clearly taken on WAY too many cats, and now appears to be VERY overwhelmed. He continues to accept more & more new cats; & the cats who are already there suffer even more. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE help be the voice for these cats. His ranch is over-populated by far, & these cats are NOT properly cared for whatsoever.

Dawn Tavenier – May, 2011

See Also: